Monday, September 3, 2012

Good-bye Summer


It's Labor Day and that means the end of summer. It's been a busy summer, with nephews and nieces graduating, and trips to family parties, vacations, and now the beginning of school. I was looking at pictures of the boys from the past couple of months. I really like photos so much more than videos. With photos you're able to capture that split second of the moment, an instant of happiness free from the surrounding context which might be less blissful. Looking at the pictures of the boys -- at their innocent joy -- reminds me of those almost imperceptible moments of bliss, of how much I love my family and how lucky I am. And, in a way, prepares me for the next phase of my cancer journey: treatment.

Infusion (aka, chemo) begins 9/13. I've got a business trip happening between now and then, and in my mind, I've had these events (Labor Day weekend, business trip) standing happily between me and treatment, preventing me from spending too much time thinking about what might be. As we know, there's no real good that can happen by worrying about what will happen during treatment, but that knowledge doesn't always prevent my mind from going there. And the questions I have range from mild curiosity (If you're being infused for 8-10 hours, what happens when you need to go to the bathroom? Do you disconnect? Drag a pole with you? It's a bit silly, but I'm wondering about it. And more importantly, can I type on my iPad during the time I'm there? Is there an outlet nearby to keep it charged?) to more pressing concerns.

I vacillate between thinking that my treatment will be nothing more than two days spent on Yawkey 8 each month, to worrying that I will be too tired to run, to coach soccer, or do anything but play Rock Band with the boys. Most of the blogs I read are from people who have had a rougher road to travel than I have, with different diagnoses than I have, but reading of their battles with chemo and other treatments does make me pause for a moment.

But whatever will happen will happen. And I will deal with it at the time, not through the use of any great wisdom or strength, because it's what you do when life happens. My friend Cynthia sent a great quote from Anna Quindlen, from her book, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, that sums it up here:

"Most of us don't have tornadoes in our lives.  Our disasters are manageable and predictable, the losses systematic and expected.  The car conks out, a younger man is promoted in our stead, our incomes shrink, the heart goes haywire.  Our grandparents die, then our mothers and fathers, then some of our friends.  People manage to rebound from great devastation;  we read about them every day, the parents who survive the death of a child (though we know we couldn't), the workers who lose lifelong jobs (a turn of affairs we're certain we wouldn't survive), the patients whose bodies are racked by terrible disease (which we wouldn't want to live with).  And then sometimes we become one of those people and are amazed, not by our own strength but by that indomitable ability to slog through adversity, which looks like strength from the outside and just feels like every day when it's happening to you."

Amen.

Hope your summer was as great as mine was.
--Michael

p.s. Movie ideas needed. If you've got any ideas for good movies to load up on my iPad, leave a comment here!